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10 pillows that are essential for quality sleep if you’re a side sleeper

January 19th, 2021

Sleep is one of the most important aspects of any person’s daily routine. No matter our age, sex, or ethnicity, the need for sleep unites us all. Without enough sleep, we’re at a higher risk for serious health problems such as diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease.

For that reason, getting enough sleep isn’t just a bonus after a long, busy day – it’s essential. It’s estimated that 65% of people are a side sleeper, so it’s important that you choose the right pillow to help you get enough shuteye.

Pillows with a fuller shape will help to keep your neck aligned, preventing you from being kept awake by discomfort and arising the next morning with aches and pains. The right pillow will relieve pressure and keep your weight evenly distributed across your mattress, reducing your likelihood of experiencing back and neck pain.

Side sleepers naturally need a thicker pillow than stomach or back sleepers as they need to ensure the space between their shoulder and head is properly accounted for. A pillow that’s too thin and flimsy will result in your head tilting at an angle when you lie down, putting pressure and strain on one side of the neck. The shoulder you’re sleeping on will also bunch up in an attempt to close the gap between your head and the pillow somewhat, which will result in muscle pain where the shoulder meets the neck.

Luckily, it’s easy enough to sleep comfortably and soundly with the right pillow for your sleeping preference. If you’re keen to learn of the 10 best pillows currently available for side sleepers in the US, we’ve covered everything you need to know in this guide.

1. Best Overall Pillow For Side Sleepers: Dosaze™ Side Sleeper Pillow, $99.99

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Dosaze Source: Dosaze

The Dosaze™ Side Sleeper Pillow is cleverly designed to help side sleepers say goodbye to a poor night’s sleep once and for all. With this pillow, you get all the pressure-relieving benefits of memory foam, combined with a totally unique ergonomic design that’s intended to provide optimal comfort night after night.

The pillow was released in late 2020 by the Dosaze team. They also created the contoured orthopedic pillow that was an immediate hit.

With its shoulder cutout shape, the Dosaze™ Side Sleeper Pillow ensures maximum support of the head and neck throughout the night. It features two cooling gel infusions – activated charcoal and CoolGel™ – to tackle the common issue of overheating and help you stay cool on even the hottest nights. Memory foam is known for accumulating heat, but the Dosaze™ Side Sleeper Pillow uses a special form of ventilated memory foam in combination with its cooling gel to prevent this from happening.

There’s no need to worry about hygiene issues with this pillow, either, as it features SilverTech™ threads that are woven into the TENCEL™ cover. Not only does this inhibit bacteria, giving you the cleanest and healthiest sleep possible, but it also promotes a more hypoallergenic sleep surface. This means that people who suffer from dust allergies should be able to use the Dosaze™ Side Sleeper Pillow without experiencing allergy symptoms.

The benefits of this pillow aren’t only intended to help you sleep easier – they’re also on hand to make your life easier, too. The pillow cover is removable and washable, and the 3-year warranty should give you plenty of peace of mind that this pillow has the structural quality to stand the test of time.

Pros:

  • 3-year warranty
  • Allergy-friendly
  • Unique shoulder cutout design for neck support
  • Inhibits bacteria growth
  • Cooling gel infusions prevent overheating

Cons:

  • Slight off-gassing smell that goes away in 1-2 days

2. Best Value Pillow For Side Sleepers: Cushion Lab Adjustable Shredded Memory Foam Pillow, $52

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The Cushion Lab Source: The Cushion Lab

Getting a good night’s sleep doesn’t have to be expensive! The Cushion Lab Adjustable Shredded Memory Foam Pillow is ideal for side sleepers who have specific sleep preferences when it comes to pillow height – and, being affordable, this one’s an option for everyone.

The best thing about this pillow is that you can completely personalize it to your tastes. You can remove or add shredded memory foam from the pillow’s interior to build the perfect sleeping height for your body, because we’re all different, and The Cushion Lab recognizes that.

The shredded memory foam gives the Cushion Lab Adjustable Shredded Memory Foam Pillow more fluffiness than a single block of memory foam, but you’ll still get more support than a down pillow, helping you to sleep in ultimate comfort. However, some people found that this shredded foam design caused the pillow to compress beneath their head too much overnight.

Pros:

  • Can personalize to sleep tastes
  • Affordable for everyone
  • Fluffier than a block foam pillow

Cons:

  • Some customers found that the foam compressed too much overnight

3. Best Latex-Foam Pillow: Avocado Molded-Latex Pillow, $99

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Avocadogreenmattress Source: Avocadogreenmattress

Latex-foam is an increasingly popular pillow option for side sleepers, and the Avocado Molded-Latex Pillow is one of the best of its kind. This pillow has been designed for side sleepers, back sleepers, or anyone who simply wishes for a firmer pillow offering more support.

Not only does the Avocado Molded-Latex Pillow hold its shape, it also offers temperature regulation thanks to its charcoal-infused latex core. Some pillows can hold onto odors and moisture, but the Avocado pillow incorporated design features that prevent this. However, an issue brought up by numerous customers was that this pillow is too high for comfortable sleep.

The pillow comes with one removable, GOTS organic certified cotton cover, which is soft and light, as well as being super simple to clean.

Pros:

  • Temperature regulating
  • Helps to prevent moisture and odors
  • Easy-wash cotton cover

Cons:

  • Some customers found pillow was too high

3. Best Down Pillow: Parachute Down Side Sleeper Pillow, $129

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Parachute Source: Parachute

If you’re the sort of person who thinks traditional is best, you’ll be most attracted to the Parachute Down Side Sleeper Pillow. This pillow is on hand to help you break the cycle of flipping and fluffing your pillow, offering unparalleled high-quality support and plushness.

Being medium-density and with a 3.5-inch gusset, the Parachute Down Side Sleeper Pillow gives is the right height for side sleepers. This pillow contains 750 fill power European white down for the most luxurious sleeping experience.

Keep in mind that this pillow is a more expensive option compared to some of the other pillows for side sleepers on this list, and some customers also found that the pillow required punching to keep it in shape overnight.

Pros:

  • High enough for side sleepers
  • Made from quality materials
  • Offers great neck support

Cons:

  • Quite expensive
  • May require punching

4. Best Organic Pillow: Naturepedic Organic 2-in-1 Adjustable Latex Pillow, $99

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Nautrepedic Source: Nautrepedic

Organic pillows only use materials that have been organically produced and contain no chemicals that could seriously harm your health. As the best organic pillow for side sleepers on this list, the Naturepedic Organic 2-in-1 pillow contains an organic shredded latex core, which you can adjust to suit your tastes and support your side sleeping position. Some people did find that it was difficult to get the right feel with the pillow, and would have preferred a non-adjustable option that was designed to be just right with no alterations needed.

Not only can you adjust the fill of this pillow, but you can also alter the outer encasement for optimum comfort. You can choose to sleep on the pillow’s smooth stretch-knit side or the quilted side, or swap between the two for the best of both worlds. The smooth stretch-knit side has a stretchier feel that will better conform to your head and neck position, while the quilted side has a fluffier feel. You can machine wash this case to keep it in peak condition throughout its lifespan.

Pros:

  • Adjustable fill
  • Contains no harsh chemicals
  • Two encasement options

Cons:

  • May take a while to adjust pillow to tastes

5. Best Hybrid Pillow: Layla Kapok Pillow, $99

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Laylasleep Source: Laylasleep

Hybrid pillows are particularly popular for side sleepers, providing the best of both worlds. The Layla is stuffed with a combination of reactive memory foam fill and kapok fibers, which allow the pillow to mold nicely to your head, neck and shoulder and keep a firm shape throughout the night.

This pillow features a super soft cover made from a breathable polyester viscose blend with interwoven CuTec® performance copper fibers, ensuring you stay cool and sweat-three throughout the night. However, for people who sleep hot, this pillow might not be as cooling as you’d like.

Kapok may be a new material to you. This kind of material is ideal for using in pillowcases as it’s softer and airier than cotton or wool, offering a greater level of comfort during sleep.

Pros:

  • Stays firm throughout the night
  • Offers good head and neck contouring
  • Uses kapok, a softer, airier material

Cons:

  • May not provide enough cooling for hot sleepers

6. Best Cooling Pillow: Purple Harmony Pillow, $159

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Purple Source: Purple

Hot sleepers, don’t panic – there are pillows out there that offer a high level of support and promote a cooling sleep, and the Purple Harmony Pillow is one of the best out there. This pillow features grid material, an innovative invention that you’ll only find in a Purple pillow, which helps to support your head, neck and shoulders while being cooling enough to keep you comfortable on even the hottest nights.

How is cooling promoted with the Purple Harmony? There are several features that promote a cooler sleep, including open air channels in the latex core, which prevents heat build-up. If you hate it when pillows collapse under your neck, you’ll be happy with the performance of the Purple Harmony, which bounces back after a weight has been applied. The only small customer complaint here was that the Purple Harmony isn’t quite high enough for some sleepers’ tastes. It’s also pretty expensive.

Pros:

  • Offers a high level of support
  • Promotes a cooling sleep
  • Soft cover

Cons:

  • Not high enough for some sleepers
  • Expensive

7. Best Buckwheat Pillow: Hullo Buckwheat Pillow, $109

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Amazon Source: Amazon

Pillows containing buckwheat hulls are a good choice for side sleepers because of their natural firmness, which prevents them from collapsing or changing shape overnight. Buckwheat is also known for its cooling capabilities, especially when paired against memory foam. The Hullo Buckwheat Pillow performs particularly well when it comes to both firmness and coolness.

While a standard pillow will most likely be unable to offer the extra support that a side sleeper needs, the Hullo Buckwheat Pillow lets you adjust the shape and thickness of the pillow, ensuring you can enjoy optimum support for your head and neck, preventing stress on your spine. The Hullo Pillow uses certified organic twill instead of bird feathers or chemical-based foams. Some people found this pillow too hard for their tastes, however, and it is quite costly.

Pros:

  • Promotes breathability
  • Firm and supportive
  • Made from natural, organic materials

Cons:

  • Quite hard for some sleepers

8. Best Down Alternative Pillow: The Casper Original, $65

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Casper Source: Casper

Innovation is something we can all get on board with, and you’ll find plenty of this at Casper. The popular manufacturer of sleep products has produced a number of pillows over the years, but the Casper Original is by far the cleverest.

Its design features a pillow inside a pillow, with an inner pillow that’s zipped inside an outer pillow. Also featured is a two-inch guest, which helps to ensure that the down filling is evenly distributed and keeps a sleeper’s head and neck well supported. The ideal combination of plush and supportive, this pillow’s pressure-relieving capabilities make it an ideal option for side sleepers. However, if you prefer to adjust a pillow to your tastes, you can’t do this with the Casper Original.

Pros:

  • Unique, innovative design
  • two-inch gusset maintains firmness
  • Comes in two sizes: standard and king

Cons:

  • Not adjustable

9. Best Wedge Pillow: MedCline LP – Shoulder Relief System, $238.99

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Medcline Source: Medcline

If you’re a side sleeper who sleeps with your arm underneath your pillow, the MedCline LP pillow will give you the best shoulder support. It’s a little pricier than the other pillows in this guide, but there’s good reason for it – it’s an entire sleep system, so you pay more to get more.

This pillow helps to eliminate chronic shoulder pain for side sleepers, letting you sleep in a naturally comfortable position on either your left of your right side. There’s space to drop your arm into the patented arm pocket and drape your other arm over the pillow, helping you to sleep the most comfortably with minimal aches and pains.

Pros:

  • Innovative design prevents chronic pain
  • Eliminates the need to stack pillows
  • Symmetrical to allow for left and right side sleeping

Cons:

  • Most expensive pillow on this list

10. Best Memory Foam Pillow: Bear Pillow, $125

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Bearmattress Source: Bearmattress

Memory foam doesn’t always guarantee a hotter-than-usual sleep. If you’re a side sleeper who runs hot, you’ll likely enjoy the Bear Pillow’s cooling properties. It’s packed full of ventilated foam, and the pillow’s mesh panels go that extra bit further in boosting breathability. With a medium-firmness and loft, it’s ideal for people who sleep on their side.

Made from hypoallergenic, antimicrobial material, this pillow won’t aggravate your allergies or become a bacteria breeding ground. It comes with a removable, washable cover to make it easy to keep it clean. Because of its loft, this pillow is only suitable for exclusive side sleepers – it’ll cause neck issues if you’re a combination sleeper who also sleeps on your front or back.

Pros:

  • Promotes a cooling sleep
  • Soft and spongy
  • Hypoallergenic and antimicrobial

Cons:

  • Only suitable for exclusive side sleepers

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Source: NY Mag, Good Housekeeping

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